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Blood and Beauty

by eric — last modified March 26, 2015 01:42 PM

Blood and Beauty cover

Blood and Beauty: Organized Violence in the Art and Archaeology of Mesoamerica and Central America

Edited by Heather Orr and Rex Koontz

ISBN: 978-1-931745-80-2 (cloth), 978-1-931745-58-1 (paper)
Publication Date: September 2009
Series: Ideas, Debates, and Perspectives 4
Price: US $30 cloth, $20 paper
Buy this book! Order from the University of New Mexico Press or buy a digital version from our e-commerce site.

Warfare, ritual human sacrifice, and the rubber ballgame have been the traditional categories through which scholars have examined organized violence in the artistic and material records of ancient Mesoamerica and Central America. This volume expands those traditional categories to include such concerns as gladiatorial-like boxing combats, investiture rites, trophy-head taking and display, dark shamanism, and the subjective pain inherent in acts of violence. Each author examines organized violence as a set of practices grounded in cultural understandings, even when the violence threatens the limits of those understandings. The authors scrutinize the representations of, and relationships between, different types of organized violence, as well as the implications of those activities, which can include the unexpected, such as violence as a means of determining and curing illness, and the use of violence in negotiation strategies.

From the reviews:

Scholars will be impressed with the extensive notes and references cited sections for each chapter, as well as the comprehensive twenty-one page index that provides entry into the wealth of research presented in Blood and Beauty... This book is highly recommended for any academic or museum library that supports research in the art and archaeology of Mesoamerica and Central America.

-Kim Collins, ARLIS/NA Reviews (April/May 2010)

Separate chapter PDFs available for purchase at

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